Monday, April 17, 2006

Nepal police kill protester, food and fuel runs scarce

Nepalese forces fired at protesters in a southern town kililng one and wounding five.

A general strike against King Gyanendra of Nepal's Shahi dynasty has crippled the capital city of Katmandu causing shortages of food and fuel.

Police also fought again with protesters in the capital injuring several people with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Police attack demonstrators and tourists during anti-monarcy protests in Katmandu, Nepal
Police attack protesters and supporting tourists in Katmandu on Monday. AP photo from Yahoo News.

Troops are accompanying convoys of trucks in an attempt to restore the flow of supplies into Katmandu. Prices for food have risen sharply since the strike began with vegetables increasing by five times.

Opposition leaders also called on expatriate Nepalis, estimated to number 1.6 million, to stop paying taxes and other money owed to the government as part of an all-out economic offensive.

The king, once regarded as an incarnation of the god Visnu, has been the target of many harsh slogans from protesters. Even usually staunch royalists have been reserved or even secretive lately in their support for the king.

Many protesters openly insist Gyanendra must go and no longer envision even a return to constitutional monarchy.

One thought that I have had is that Gyanendra may have assumed autocratic control to clear a path for his highly-unpopular son Paras. The crown prince was the target of angry protests by expatriate Nepalis earlier this year when he visited Austria. Many believe he was responsible for the royal massacre in some way, and during Gyanendra's coronation demonstrators mainly targeted Paras with their slogans.

A heavy drinker, Paras killed a very popular singer in an drunken accident, and was once said to have hit a policeman with the butt of his rifle when stopped alledgedly for driving under the influence.

King no longer sacred in Nepal

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